New research commissioned by Wyelands Bank shows that the food and beverage industry is the UK’s fastest growing export sector, with a 6.3% growth rate forecast per year to 2021.

The UK food and beverage sector is vital to the UK economy and is the UK’s sixth largest export sector.

In addition, the UK imports an estimated 48% of the food and drink it consumes.

Food and beverage exports were worth $27.2bn* in 2017 and the projected growth could generate an extra *$1.7bn a year for the industry’s exports.

The UK food and drink sector reports to be highly domestic in focus with exports, only accounting for 9% of the total production within the industry.

Food and drink manufacturing businesses also accounted for £243bn in turnover and created more than 800,000 direct jobs in 2017.

Iain Hunter, CEO of Wyelands Bank, said: “Food and beverage businesses are important to the UK economy and the industry is a significant source of export growth over the next five years.

“Smaller, more innovative companies – especially in manufacturing – play an important part in the UK’s foothold in global supply chains, as these food and drinks businesses demonstrate.”

Iain Hunter, CEO of Wyelands Bank.

Looking at the regional picture for UK exports, Europe remains the UK’s biggest trading partner for exports with a 46.3% share.

North America is next with 17.2%, while Asia Pacific (7%), Sub-Saharan Africa (5.4%), Mena (1.8%) and South America (1.2%) follow.

However, the fastest growing markets are Asia Pacific, where exports are expected to grow at 3% a year to 2021 and South America, where UK exports are expected to grow by around 0.5% annually until 2021.

Hunter added: “Trade is important because it has helped contribute to the UK’s record employment levels, providing financial security for millions of families up and down the country.”

*The values are reported in US dollars to make comparisons consistent and therefore differ from those published by the UK Government.